The Parrot is intrigued by two stories that appeared in the local media; some local policemen were charged and remanded for demanding bribes and Jamaica’s banning of reggae dance-hall songs with sexually explicit lyrics. The former is an indication of how times have changed here over the last sixteen years.
The eight ranks currently in custody follow others who were in the past placed before the courts for various offences, including extortion. Let me first state that in life there are good and bad people. In police forces across the world, there are good cops and there are rogue cops. Good cops tend to outnumber the rogue elements.
I recall a few years back when four New York City cops were charged for racist torture, abuse and sexual violation of Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima. Officer Charles Schwartz was found guilty while the others were found not guilty. Schwartz was convicted for participating in a sexual assault against Louima who was held down by Schwartz while another cop, Justin Volpe, raped him with a broomstick in the bathroom of the70th Precinct.
The story, with its graphic content, caused outrage across the US. People there were shocked that those entrusted to serve and protect the rights of all violated a fellow human being. There was mounting pressure for the authorities to act and for justice to be given to Mr. Louima.
Mr. Louima’s story was just one of the many cases in which rouge cops abused the rights of others in the US. I allude to this in an effort to point out that in Guyana, there are some rogue cops who engage in undesirable practices which bring the force into disrepute by tarnishing its image, and which affect confidence building by the public. Generally, drivers are among the vulnerable targets for rogue cops here.
Those affected clamour for corrective action. There are of course other categories of people who are victims of rogue cops and who are equally adamant for justice. Many feel it’s an exercise in futility to pursue related matters through established entities. As such, some give in and feed the insatiable appetite of these rogue cops.
Those who were steadfast in not accepting such injustice and pursued it to the courts must be commended. Their actions can only help to encourage others to do likewise. During my teen years and the beginning of my working life in the eighties, harassment, extortion and the demanding of bribes were rampant.
I cannot recall a rogue cop being brought before the courts. In those days, the politicising of the force was evident and many, if not all, felt that there was no recourse, since the political establishment seemed reluctant to take necessary action. Today, that has changed as evident by the eight rogue cops who, earlier this week, were placed before the courts.
The government and the administration of the force must be commended for this. It will serve as a deterrent to other rogue cops and will enhance the building of confidence in the force by the public. It is in this context that I find the actions taken by some members of the department to which some of these cops charged were attached, to be unprofessional and unwarranted.
What message are they sending? Do they condone such actions? Thankfully their actions were short lived. As it relates to the banning of lewd music by Jamaica, one can only hope that those who continue to defy the ban on music in public transport here will be brought to justice by the cops; not the rogue ones; the matter will not be resolved if they are involved. Squawk! Squawk!
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